[ ECM New Series / CD ]
Release Date: Saturday 26 May 2007
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"With just one singer assigned to each part, the Hilliard Ensemble take a minimalist approach to these extraordinary works...this disc is a natural successor to the Hilliard's previous excursions into pre-baroque music, supremely musical and overflowing with food for thought". **** GUARDIAN.CO.UK
"Bach may not have heard these works in quite this way when he was alive, but I'd bet my urtext he'd have loved every moment"
(MusicWeb June 2007)
Bach's choral oeuvre has marked an obvious gap in the huge repertoire of the Hilliard Ensemble which ranges from Perotinus Magnus to contemporary composition. Now the four singers – enhanced by four additional voices to form a soloist double choir – present their a-cappella-readings of Johann Sebastian Bach's wonderful motets, fascinating us once again with their seamless blend of sound and unique intonation.
"With just one singer assigned to each part, the Hilliard Ensemble take a minimalist approach to these extraordinary works. Seven of Bach's motets are included - all but one (the four-part Lobet Den Herrn, for which the continuo is supplied by an organ) are given unaccompanied, and the instrumental parts that survive for the double-choir Der Geist Hilft Unser Schwachheit Auf are omitted. The results may seem small-scale, especially to those who regard these works as the summit of the polyphonic choral repertory and favour a monumental approach. There are certainly moments when a greater weight of choral sound might set the contrasts between the different section of each motet, the antiphonal choruses, chorales and arias, into sharper relief. But every member of this remarkable group knows exactly how they fit into the musical scheme - it is likely, too, that the performances of Bach's own time were on this scale. So this disc is a natural successor to the Hilliard's previous excursions into pre-baroque music, supremely musical and overflowing with food for thought." **** 4 stars out of 5 - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (BWV 225)
Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (BWV 226)
Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227)
Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir (BWV 228)
Komm, Jesu, komm (BWV 229)
Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden
Ich lasse Dich nicht, du segnest mich denn (BWV Anh. 159)